Siege of Chittorgarh (1303)

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Siege of Chittorgarh
Part of Mewar-Delhi Sultanate Wars
Date28 January – 26 August 1303
Location24°53′11″N 74°38′49″E / 24.8863°N 74.647°E / 24.8863; 74.647
Result Khalji victory
Alauddin Khalji captured the fort of Chittor
Delhi Sultanate Guhila dynasty
Commanders and leaders
Alauddin Khalji Ratnasimha
Rana Lakhan 
Ari Singh [1]
Casualties and losses
Unknown 30,000 killed.[2]
Siege of Chittorgarh is located in South Asia
Siege of Chittorgarh
Siege of Chittorgarh
Location of the Siege of Chittorgarh
Siege of Chittorgarh is located in Rajasthan
Siege of Chittorgarh
Siege of Chittorgarh
Siege of Chittorgarh (Rajasthan)

The siege of Chittorgarh occurred in 1303, when the Khalji ruler Alauddin Khalji (r. 1296–1316) captured and sacked the Chittor Fort, toppling the Guhila king Ratnasimha, after an eight-month-long siege. The conflict has been described in several legendary accounts, including the historical epic poem Padmavat, which claims that Alauddin's motive was to obtain Ratnasimha's beautiful wife Padmini; though this legend is considered historically inaccurate by most historians. Alauddin ordered the fort to be pelted with stones from his siege engines (munjaniqs). When the fort was stormed, Rajput women committed Jauhar while most of the warriors died defending the fort. The city of Chittor was completely sacked by Alauddin's army and several temples were desecrated.


The Mewar region in north-western India was ruled by the Guhila dynasty, whose seat was located at the Chittor Fort (Chittorgarh). In 1299, Alauddin's general Ulugh Khan had raided the Mewar region on his way to Gujarat. However, this appears to have been a light raid rather than a serious invasion. The Guhila king Samarasimha protected his country from the raiders,[3] possibly by paying a tribute.[4]

In 1301, Alauddin conquered Ranthambore, which was located between Delhi and Chittor, and then returned to Delhi. The same year, Ratnasimha ascended the throne of Chittor.[5] The later legends based on Malik Mohammad Jaisi's epic poem Padmavat state that Alauddin invaded Chittor to obtain Rani Padmini, the queen of Ratnasimha (called Ratan Sen or Ratan Singh in these legends). According to these legends, a man named Raghava told Alauddin about the extraordinary beauty of Padmini.[6] However, Padmini does not find a mention in the earliest records of Alauddin's conquest of Chittor, such as the chronicles by Amir Khusrau, Barani and Isami. Most modern historians have rejected the authenticity of the Padmini legend.[7]


On 28 January 1303, Alauddin started his march to Chittor with a large army. After arriving near the fort, he set up a camp between the Berach and Gambhiri rivers. His army then surrounded the fort from all sides. Alauddin stationed himself at Chitori hillock located to the north of the fort.[8]

The siege went on for nearly eight months, suggesting that the defenders put up a strong resistance. Amir Khusrau, who accompanied Alauddin to Chittor, has briefly described the siege in his Khaza'in ul-Futuh. However, no detailed account of the siege operations is available.[9] Khusrau implies that the frontal attacks by the invaders failed twice. He states that the invaders managed to reach the "waist" of the hill during the two months of the rainy season but could not advance further. Alauddin ordered the fort to be pelted with stones from siege engines (munjaniqs). At the same time, his armoured soldiers attacked it from all sides.[8]

The fort garrison may have suffered from a famine or an epidemic. On 26 August 1303, Alauddin entered the fort.[8] After his victory, Alauddin ordered a general massacre of Chittor's population. According to Amir Khusrau, 30,000 Hindus were "cut down like dry grass" due to this order.[10] Conversely, Banarsi Prasad Saxena states that the figure of 30,000 is probably a exaggeration and inaccurate as three and thirty are presented similarly in Persian annals.[11]

After the fortress was sacked, Rajput women committed Jauhar while most of the warriors died defending the fort.[12][13] While the exact site of where the Jauhar was committed is unknown, Historian R.V Somani speculated that it took place near Gaumukh Kund or inside the palaces.[14]

Fate of Ratnasimha[edit]

Accounts vary about what happened to Ratnasimha, the ruler of Chittor. The early Muslim chroniclers such as Amir Khusrau, Ziauddin Barani and Isami, state that the unnamed ruler ("Rai") of Chittor surrendered to Alauddin and was pardoned.[15][16] The Jain writer Kakka Suri (1336) states that Alauddin took away his wealth, and "made him move like a monkey from one city to another".[17]

The Kumbhalgarh prashasti (eulogistic inscription) of 1460 CE, which is the earliest Hindu record of the siege, states that Ratnasimha "departed" from the battlefield, after which Lakshmasimha died defending the fort because only the cowards forsake "the established traditions of the family", while "those who are valorous and steady do not give up their pursuit."[18][19] Modern historians have interpreted the word "departed" (tasmin gate in Sanskrit) variously, either meaning that Ratnasimha died fighting on the battlefield or deserted the defenders and surrendered.[20]

The Padmavat legend claims that Ratnasimha ("Ratan Sen") died in a combat with the ruler of Kumbhalner, before Alauddin's conquest of the fort.[21] In Nainsi ri Khyat, the 17th century chronicler Muhnot Nainsi, who wrote under Rajput patronage, states that Ratnasimha died on the battlefield.[6]


The city of Chittor was completely sacked by Alauddin's army. A large number of temples were desecrated, including the long-standing Sun temple dedicated to Hindu goddess Kali, where the icon of Surya (solar deity of Hindus) was vandalized. However, most of these temples were repaired by rulers of the junior Sisodia lineage, only to be desecrated again by Bahadur Shah and Akbar, when they sacked the city in 1535 and 1568 respectively.[22]

Alauddin assigned Chittor to his son Khizr Khan (or Khidr Khan), who was 7 or 8 years old. The Chittor fort was renamed "Khizrabad" after the prince.[15] Khizr Khan was given a gold-embroidered robe and a red canopy, which was usually bestowed upon an heir apparent. Alauddin stayed at Chittor for seven more days and then left for Delhi, probably after learning about the Mongol invasion.[6] An important inscription at Chittor dated 13 May 1310, recording Alauddin as the ruler, indicates that the place had not been evacuated by the Khaljis till that period.[23]

As Khizr Khan was only a child, the actual administration was handed over to a slave named Malik Shahin, who held the office of naib-i barbek (deputy in-charge of the royal court), and whom Alauddin called his son.[15] According to the 14th-century chronicler Isami, Malik Shahin fled the fort sometime later because he was afraid of the Vaghela king Karna, who had managed to recapture the neighbouring Gujarat region after Alauddin's 1299 invasion.[24]

Later, Alauddin decided that it was best to govern Chittor indirectly through a Hindu ruler. He transferred the governance of Chittor from Khizr Khan to the Chahamana chief Maladeva (Maldeo), who was supported by the locals.[24] Maladeva was a brother of the Kanhadadeva. He had saved Alauddin's life from an accident during Alauddin's siege of Kanhadadeva's Jalore fort.[25] He contributed 5,000 horsemen and 10,000 infantrymen to Alauddin's campaigns, whenever ordered. He used to bring gifts for Alauddin during his annual visit to the imperial court, where he was honoured in return.[24] Alauddin maintained an imperial garrison at Chittor, and one of his inscriptions (dated May 1310) has been discovered there.[24]

According to the 16th-century chronicler Firishta, when Alauddin was on his deathbed, the ruler of Chittor rebelled and executed the imperial soldiers stationed in the fort. After the death of Maladeva around 1321, the fort came under the control of Hammir Singh, a ruler of the Sisodia branch of the Guhilas.[24] However, historian Peter Jackson believes that the fort remained under the control of the governors dispatched from Delhi, even during the reigns of the first two Tughluq rulers (1321–1350), as suggested by epigraphic evidence. According to Jackson, the accounts about Maladeva and Sisodias originated from a Sanskrit epic and seemed to be inaccurate.[26]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Rima Hooja 2006, p. 313:"Much has been written about the siege, and the bravery of its defenders prominent among who were Rana Lakhan-Si (Lakshmanasimha, or Lakshman Singh) of the Sisoda estate, and his seven sons members of the junior line of the Mewar ruling family"
  2. ^ Mehta, Jaswant Lal (1979). Advanced Study in the History of Medieval India. Sterling Publishers Pvt. Ltd. p. 149. ISBN 978-81-207-0617-0.
  3. ^ Kishori Saran Lal 1950, p. 84.
  4. ^ Peter Jackson 2003, p. 197.
  5. ^ Kishori Saran Lal 1950, p. 117.
  6. ^ a b c Kishori Saran Lal 1950, p. 120.
  7. ^ Satish Chandra 2004, p. 89.
  8. ^ a b c Banarsi Prasad Saksena 1992, p. 367.
  9. ^ Kishori Saran Lal 1950, p. 118.
  10. ^ Kishori Saran Lal 1950, pp. 119–120.
  11. ^ Ram Vallabh Somani 1976, p. 97: "According to B.P. Saxena, the murder of thirty thousand is obiviously an error, as in Persian script three and thirty are written more OF less” the fame way (M. Habib and Nizami—, p. 868 fr)"
  12. ^ Satish Chandra (2007). History of Medieval India: 800–1700. Orient Longman. p. 98. ISBN 978-81-250-3226-7. Alauddin closely invested Chittor. After a valiant resistance by the besieged for several months, Alauddin stormed the fort (1303). The Rajputs performed jauhar and most of the warriors died fighting. Padmini, and the other queens, also sacrificed their lives. But it seems that Ratan Singh was captured alive and kept a prisoner for some time
  13. ^ Rima Hooja 2006, p. 308: "Amir Khusrau’s works have omitted mention of several episodes unpalatable to the Sultan among them the murder of Jalaluddin Khilji by his nephew, Alauddin; Alauddin’s defeat at the hands of the Mongols; and the Mongol siege of Delhi. Srivastava also asserts that it would be wrong to say that Jayasi had concocted the entire story of Padmini. He holds that ‘Jayasi wrote out a romance, the plot of which he derived from Amir Khusrau’s Khazain-ul-Futuh’, and while conceding that “most of the romantic details of Jayasi’s Padmavat are imaginary”, asserts that “the main plot of the story that Padmini was coveted by Alauddin and was shown in a mirror to the lustful Sultan who had her husband arrested, is most probably based on historical truth. He further suggests that the women performed Jauhar after Ratan Singh’s arrest and then the Rajputs fell on the invaders and rescued the Rana, but they were cut down to a man, and the fort and the country passed into Alauddin’s hands"
  14. ^ Ram Vallabh Somani 1976, p. 97: "At last, when the stock of food-stuff remained insufficient, the Rajputs determined to perform Jauhar. The exact spot where it was done is not known. Bit it seems that it might have been performed either near Gomukh or inside the palaces"
  15. ^ a b c Banarsi Prasad Saksena 1992, p. 368.
  16. ^ Aditya Behl 2012, p. 177.
  17. ^ Shyam Singh Ratnawat & Krishna Gopal Sharma 1999, p. 124.
  18. ^ Rajendra Singh Kushwaha 2003, p. 273.
  19. ^ Manjit Singh Ahluwalia 1978, p. 96.
  20. ^ Akshaya Keerty Vyas 1937, pp. 313–314.
  21. ^ Ramya Sreenivasan 2007, p. 209.
  22. ^ Andre Wink (1991). Al-Hind the Making of the Indo-Islamic World: The Slave Kings and the Islamic Conquest : 11th–13th Centuries. Brill. pp. 325–326. ISBN 9004102361. Chitorgarh, the most famous of Rajput fortresses, founded about 728 AD, was taken by Muslim armies three times: the first by 'Ala' ad-Din Khalaji in 1303, the second by Bahadur Shah in 1535, and the third by Akbar in 1567. Here again we find many temples dating back to the fifteenth century, when a revival of Jain architecture took place. But often, like in the case of the Temple of Mirabai, erected in 1449 AD by Rana Kumbha of the Mewar dynasty, they were built on an eighth- or ninth-century substructure which was demolished centuries earlier. Another example is the sun-temple in Chitorgarh, probably dating to the eighth century, where Surya is de-faced by the Muslim iconoclasts on one side of the temple, while left intact on the other side; the temple itself was re-dedicated to Kali, after having been destroyed by the Khalajis and later again by Bahadaur Shah and Akbar
  23. ^ Proceedings, Volume 28. Indian History Congress. 1966. p. 147.
  24. ^ a b c d e Banarsi Prasad Saksena 1992, p. 371.
  25. ^ Kishori Saran Lal 1950, p. 130.
  26. ^ Peter Jackson 2003, p. 198.


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